February 20, 2017
Hugh Likes Fiction, Review
HLF, Hugh Likes Fiction, Matt Wallace, Novella, review, Sin Du Jour, Tor, Urban Fantasy
Idle Ingredients (Sin du Jour Book 4)
Written by Matt Wallace
Published by Tor
Matt Wallace is back again with the fourth course of his ‘Sin du Jour’ novellas. Each bite-sized course of these epicurean Urban Fantasy series is an utter delight, and I’ve been looking forward to this one. As usual, Wallace doesn’t disappoint.
Still reeling from their last big job in Los Angeles, Sin du Jour line chef Lena Tarr goes on the lamb. Bronko and Nikki bring her back to the kitchen on the very reasonable assumption that the armies of Hell that are after them will kill her without the protection Sin du Jour provides. But there’s a new face at the catering company, ‘Government liaison’ Luciana Monrovio and Lena is immediately suspicious of the hold she seems to suddenly have over all of them, particularly the guys.
This novella is a bit more serious than the last three, but that’s not surprising after the major throw down at the end of “Pride’s Spell.” The thing I did like about this one is that it packs in a lot of character growth for characters we haven’t seen too much of before. Darren gets some nice page time, and really starts to come into his own, even as Lena is shown as more vulnerable than we’ve seen her in the past, and planning assistant Jett gets a cool arc too. Wallace’s strength is in keeping all of his plates spinning so flawlessly. Sin du Jour, as in his previous novella series, Slingers, has a huge cast of characters. Matt manages to breathe life into all of them, and progress their individual stories, in a breathtakingly short amount of pages. Each bite-sized book contains more character growth and personality than your average doorstop fantasy epic.
Sin du Jour book four, Idle Ingredients, is out now from Tor. You can purchase it from Amazon or wherever you get books.
September 16, 2015
Hugh Likes Comics
Comics, HLC, Hugh Likes Comics, Image, Japan, Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, Urban Fantasy, Wayward
Wayward Vol. 1: String Theory
Written by Jim Zub
Drawn by Steve Cummings
Published by Image Comics
Rori Lane isn’t your typical teenager. The daughter of an Irish engineer and a Japanese seamstress, she moves to Japan to live with her mom after her dad ‘didn’t work out.’ Before she can settle in, she begins to have visions of glowing red thread, and is soon drawn in to the dangerous hidden world of the Yokai, or Japanese monsters. But she isn’t on her own. She makes friends with other mythological denizens: An energetic cat girl, a classmate laboring under a curse, and a mysterious homeless boy with untapped powers.
Cummings’s art is gorgeous, and dispenses with pop-culture cuteness. The Yokai in this book are by turns tough, terrifying, and absolutely disgusting. There are no fuzzy-wuzzy kitsune mascots, and the kappa have a taste for human flesh, not cucumbers. The gore is a little brutal at times, but the grown-up monster designs do a great job of just how deep and dark the well they they’ve stumbled into is.
The detail in the art is quite appealing as well. Having worked as a English as a Second Language teacher in Japan, I noticed lots of little details in the background art that made the Tokyo of the book come alive.
“Wayward” is one of those odd little books that is too adult for YA based on the fact that the teenaged characters act a little too realistically. Rori is foul-mouthed and psychologically damaged in ways that would make Katness Everdeen crap her pants. Her mother is loving, but busy and at times distant. Rori’s real teenage problems fitting in to a new environment are a nice parallel to her supernatural adventures. While too much for youngsters, this is an excellent, but serious fantasy adventure for older teens. Parental discretion advised, of course.